Gonzales v. Ariz. State Bd. of Nursing – 4/13/2023

June 1, 2023

Arizona Court of Appeals holds that the State Nursing Board must give at least 30-days’ notice of a revocation hearing, notwithstanding separate statutory requirement to conduct prompt hearings.

The state nursing board summarily suspended and then revoked a nurse’s license after an administrative revocation hearing.  The Board gave the nurse 13-days’ notice of the revocation hearing after summarily suspending his license.  The nurse appealed to the superior court, arguing that he was not given adequate time to prepare a defense—relying on a A.R.S. § 41-1092.05(D), which requires the Board to give 30-days’ notice before conducting a hearing.  The superior court agreed with the nurse and vacated and remanded the Board’s revocation decision.

The Board appealed, arguing that it was required by A.R.S. § 41-1092.11(B) to conduct a “prompt” hearing, which overrode the 30-day requirement of the other statute, and that the Board risked violating the nurse’s due process rights by waiting longer.  The Court of Appeals rejected this argument for several reasons.  The Court first relied on the text of A.R.S. 41-1092.11(B), which directed the Board to conduct the hearings in accordance with other sections of the statute—including A.R.S. § 41-1092.05(D).  The Court further explained that the Board’s argument conflated two separate types of due process—and explained that the promptness requirement would only be violated in cases where there were several months of deprivation when the nurse was prepared to present his argument. 

Chief Judge Weinzweig authored the opinion, in which Judges Howe and Williams concurred.  

Posted by: John Bullock